Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Assignment 2 and an update

Well its been quite a while since my last post. I'd like to say I've been busy, but mostly I havent had much new to add. #304 has been humming along, driving me to work and back, and anywhere else I need to go. I'll be taking her in for her 3000 mile service soon, but really I've just been using her like a normal car.

MINI asked me to fill out assignment 2 on their MINI E website, it was mostly a 5 point scale of how much you agree or disagree with a statement, and covered charging, regenerative braking, low speed driving and safety, it also had a number of places for comments which I enjoyed filling out.

I'm getting noticed more and more, probably the "100 Electric" and "Just Say No to Gas" signs help. Have had a number of people stop me to ask about the car, and its great to show them just how much fun an electric car is to drive.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ops and Ops again

On Tuesday I planned to drive to a remote work site to do some work on the computers there, its a long drive about 85-90 miles round trip all on highways. I made the trip once before in MINI E #304 and was looking forward to driving it on a long trip again. But when I went out to the Garage I found #304 unplugged and with only a 70% charge, Ops I'd forgotten to plug it in last night.

I figured I had an hour to spare so I plugged it in and waited, hoping that the 40A charger would be quick, but when I checked back it was only at 80% not nearly enough charge for the trip. So I took the Gas burner, my Z3 which I hadnt driven in a month. On the way I kept thinking the 40A charger should have charged the car more, an I wondered if I had the cars Amperage set correctly. Sure enough when I got back and checked it the car was set to 12A not 32A, Ops again.

It must have been set to 12A for a week and I never noticed, 12A at 240v is faster then at 110V but not as fast as at 32A. While forgetting to plug in the car is a problem I'm guessing all electric car owners will have now and then, I dont think setting the correct amperage on the car should be as tricky as it is with the MINI E. First I think the car could tell you the Amperage its drawing while charging on the display, as it is you just dont know unless you click through a bunch of menues maybe 10 or so short and long clicks on the selecter switch, a very clunky system. But more useful would be if the plug you connected the car to told the car what amperage to use, it seems to me a very simple thing to have a RFID chip in the plug that the car could read. While we are on the subject of the plugs, I dont like the current ones MINI chose to use for this project, they have tiny wires inside of them that look like they could easily brake from heavy use, and I cant see this as a good plug to use in a public place like a Mall as there is no locking mechanism, I can just imagine kids going down a line of EV's plugged in at a charging site and unplugging them all.